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Dreaming: A Countdown to Sleep

Written & Illustrated by Elaine Greenstein


“Ten silent houses, everyone sleeping...” 

Bed time books are like Van Gogh paintings – copies are everywhere, but a true original is rare indeed.

Greenstein writes in susurrant phrases that soothe the ear and quiet thoughts, while, like a camera following a beautiful dream, her paintings roam through a landscape that feels comfortable and familiar. Here are ten houses, just as the lights have all been doused. Here are nine trees bending in the wind.

It’s so easy to relax and give yourself over to this soothing book, spontaneous and yet logical as one’s own night-time flights. Count along with the text if you like. Or count the “previewed” detail also on the page. Or just look and listen and feel your head fill with the slow, quiet, rhythms of sleep.


Reviews and Awards

“This quiet, intimate book is a possible choice for small nighttime storyhours, but will be put to best use at home. The dreamy, moon-dappled illustrations and the very simple text will spin a spell on all but the most nocturnal listeners.” - School Library Journal

“Beginning with “Ten/ silent houses,/ everyone sleeping” and ending with a lone swan and a wish for “sweet dreams,” this quietly beguiling counting book is handsomely designed and illustrated…As in Van Gogh's Starry Night, the moon radiates a whirlpool of blues, and curling eddies of light fill the night sky…“almost sleeping” children will find the moon's mysterious face comforting and radiant, almost like a guardian angel.” - Publishers Weekly

“This is a dreamy little picture book, with the curious illogic and surreal connections of the nighttime…The illustrations-richly textured gouache overpainting of monotype prints-sit framed in the midnight blue of the text pages they face. Gentle to read aloud, pretty to look upon.” – Booklist

“White text shines out of midnight-blue pages, with the relevant numeral formed by a constellation of colored stars, opposite luminous night scenes… Additional appeal comes from each spread’s foreshadowing of the next page’s counteee.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“With the inevitable gait towards the number one that is part of the countdown structure, this quiet book will lull sleepy children into restful slumber. The folkloric paintings in muted pastels, saved from sentiment by scratched outlines and serene composition, have a rustic appeal.” – Kirkus Reviews 


Purchase Options
Amazon • Barnes & Noble 


Spring 2000
Picture Book
ISBN: 0-439-06302-7
Price: $15.95/$22.99
Trim Size: 8 7/8" x 8 7/8"
Page Count: 32
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes